What a November it's been! How are you doing? I find myself still shocked and confused, mourning for the country I thought we were… afraid for the danger this turning tide will likely present for the minorities among us. Still, I can’t help feeling that something truly important is about to be birthed…
This fall many of us were almost tasting what will surely come one day… a woman leading our country, championing the caring values of the feminine. But this was not just about women. The well-being of all those less powerful – including the environment of our planet – was at stake.
Instead a few things are now clear -- or maybe there's just more confusion. The perceived bland details of progressive policies no longer motivate those who vote in our country. Or perhaps a Trump vote is merely questioning a broken system. Do we now only revere those we view as winners, no matter what tactics they use to win? I wonder, does anyone even care anymore what happens to the less fortunate? Are many satisfied to enjoy the whole spectacle, cheering and whistling at incendiary remarks; one huge reality show recreating itself in real life?
Now, more than any time in these last 50 years of advancement, those principles our government (primarily men, I might add) has championed to protect the weaker among us are in question. Perhaps they always have been. Compassion and feminine values have long been viewed as naive. Maybe we just thought we were further along than this month is illuminating.
Strategies to repair our country have rarely differed more starkly than at this moment. Cultural historian Riane Eisler coined the term “power-over” to describe cultural or political domination. It asserts itself most vehemently when, like in Germany in the 1920s, a large portion of a society feels cheated and mistreated... when they feel like victims of a harsh and unfair system… when someone charismatic and seemingly powerful becomes the mouthpiece for their fear and mistrust.
My morning-after despair took me down at first. How could this have happened? Was I so deluded, so head-in-the-clouds that I couldn’t imagine a Trump win? That so many would follow one so course and delusionary? That the country was this divided? That good-ole-boy sexist, racist, homophobic rhetoric would appeal to so many?
In my sadness and disbelief I’ve watched myself falling back into an old habit, pointing the finger of other-ness. Who are these people, so different from me? How could 52% of women vote for him!? What were they thinking? Who can I blame for this craziness?
But in the midst of my rant another truth has been emerging. When my finger is pointing at another in accusation, there are three fingers pointing back at me. So I ask, what part am I playing in my country’s demise?
At this sobering moment it feels appropriate to look within and ask of myself the hard questions that divide us as a people and nation. Maybe you’d like to join me?
Where have I been willing to allow a false sense of them vs us to close my ears to another’s experience?
How have I enjoyed feeling superior to those who believe or vote differently?
How are my basic instincts more the same than different when I’m motivated by fear?
What are the walls I erect when I try to feel safe?
Last month my niece was married in the coal country of eastern Pennsylvania. As I neared Scranton 10’ high red letters on billboards blared TRUMP and sent chills down my spine. Really?! But when I got to the wedding I was content to stay safe and avoid any disturbing conversation. And beside, they were all deluded! And, thank God, it would all be over soon. I lost my chance to understand the concerns of my relatives who would soon help put Mr. Trump in the White House.
So now, I have a choice. My disappointments and shattered dreams could easily disempower me if I choose to hate those who voted for Mr. Trump.
No matter our gender, it’s time to let the all-embracing and nurturing values of the feminine infiltrate into this season of reckoning and introspection. And to fortify ourselves to stand ever more firmly in our shared ideals of respect and concern for all.
Change is upon us. It’s best met with an open heart and firm determination, aspects of the balanced feminine and masculine in us all. It’s time to make alliances and take action. To stand against the kind of power-over demagoguery that bullies have always used to feel potent. And to do all this with a heart willing to see beneath difference to their root causes, to acknowledge the separation I perpetrate, to wish to understand more than to vilify.
We are being called to be wise. The road ahead will ask much of us. The return of the feminine – of a caring and inclusive culture championed by all people, no matter the gender – strains against 5000 years of power-over hierarchy and domination. The challenge is daunting. Things look bad right now! But our advances can no more be thwarted than a hurricane’s fury. The equalizing power of the feminine will not be turned back! And we are made stronger by the struggle.
Do you agree with me? Please let me know below. What walls within are you willing to let crumble? How might you instead connect with those whose views differ from yours? How will you empower your anger and frustration into meaningful action? How can you stand for what you believe and still keep an open heart to those who believe differently?
And finally, here is a quote from Martha Beck, one of my dearest teachers. May we stand united and encouraged.
"Remember that troubled times are our allies in awakening.
They compel us to access the deep, untroubled beings that we really are.
The hero engages with destiny only on the road of trials.
Each of us is the central character of our own story,
and right now, it’s true, the road ahead looks long.
Let’s use it as a chance to grow wiser and stronger,
to become heroes we’re all meant to become."
Sending my love,
Mary is an intimacy coach, sensuality educator, spiritual counselor, and writer who leads retreats around the globe and privately coaches women and couples. All at the intersection of the sacred and the senses.